I’m quite content with my iPhone 3GS, so I don’t follow much news with other smart phones. With that said, a co-worker had just picked up an HTC Incredible, one of the new smart phones that run Android OS, and he was quite excited about showing it off, which got me interested, so after 15 minutes playing around with it.
The screen was just as nice as my iPhone, but the interface had me and three other people confusingly tapping around trying to figure out how to navigate the darn thing. After flailing about and launching a dozen odd apps, the interface began to get sluggish and I remembered that the Android does ‘multi-tasking’, meaning apps continue to run in the background, even after you’ve left them. Some applications seem to have it’s own way of quitting, while others seemed to lack that feature altogether. The owner of the phone happily pointed out there was a free app he downloaded, an application killer. I also remembered reading about Android’s voice activated, turn-by-turn navigation, and it also took us a few minutes to figure out how to get it work, but once we did, it was quite amazing. The navigation app incorporates Google Maps, including street view, basically every location based features Google Map search has, is incorporated into the app.
Clumsy and anti-intuitive interface aside, the hardware was fantastic. The phone took beautiful photos and video (although multi-touch pinch-zoom seemed laggy and buggy in the photo viewer, maybe I didn’t quit enough apps?)
My last test was the controversial Flash feature. I browsed over to to kongregate to load up a Flash game. Bad first choice. I clicked tapped on the first game I saw (Kongai) and the frame rate was so low thus unplayable. Double tapping the game opened it in a new window which ran slightly faster, but still entirely too sluggish. Maybe it would work fine for flash ads, or basic animations, but I didn’t have enough time or patience to continue.
Android is an open platform, meaning anyone can develop any application they’d like on it, which I think is fantastic, but at the same time it feels like it’s trying to accomodate everyone by incorporating everything, and ultimately creating a confusing experience.